So as I sit here
patiently *not so patiently* waiting to hear what our next duty station will be, I figured it would be fun to look back on our last duty stations and share a bit about them all! So far we’re on our 4th duty station. Our first was…
Brian was stationed here from around the beginning of 2004, I joined him at the end of 2004 and then we moved away in the summer of 2011. We were super lucky and got to stay here back to back and we ABSOLUTELY loved our time there. Brian started off as a helicopter mechanic and then LAT moved after his first enlistment to combat camera. When it comes to first duty stations, let me tell you, it doesn’t get much better than southern California! There are so many things to do in the area. I feel like we did a good amount but looking back I wish we would have done even more! There’s the beach, hiking, parks, local sports teams, farmers markets, Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, lots of adorable local/a few hour drive cities to travel to and I could go on and on and on. This was by far our favorite place we’ve lived!
Up next was Syracuse, NY July 2011 – June 2012. Syracuse University runs a military program yearly, where a few combat cameraman from every branch of the military, apply to attend their program and go to college for a year (really just Sept-May) through the Newhouse School of Public Communication. When Brian came home from deployment as a newly promoted Staff Sergeant it was time for orders and with such a small MOS, the only place he could get orders to was Syracuse. For 11 months. He hadn’t even applied for the program! I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this duty station. This was our first time having to rent a place “out in town,” our oldest was starting kindergarten and since we were 2,700 miles away in Camp Pendleton we had no idea where to live. I decided to take a step back from my controlling ways ha, and let my husband find a house for us. NEVER AGAIN! Within the first 5 minutes that we arrived at our house, I wanted to cry and punch him all at the same time lol. I say that lovingly as we just laugh about that house now. But at the time, oh man did I want to kill him. There was only one bathroom, no A/C (and it was 95 degrees outside,) it was a dingy old house and we lived about 2 streets over from the crappy part of town. But for how horrible our house was, his time at Syracuse was a huge blessing to our family. We had just came off of three deployments and his first semester he had classes 4 days a week and his second only 3! It was amazing! We had so much family time together. Syracuse wasn’t my favorite town but the towns around it were absolutely beautiful. This was the first place I ever lived that had all fours seasons, got REAL snow, the kids LOVED it and we traveled all over in our short time there.
Marine Corp Base Quantico/Pentagon
So after our time at Syracuse, my husband received orders to Quantico, VA and we stayed there from July 2012 – Dec 2014. This was the first place that we decided to buy a house (mainly because the housing list was 12 months long and we didn’t want to move twice.) We bought a home in the town south of Quantico and really loved that house! After living in base housing/renting for the last 7 years it was pretty fun to own a home of our own, it made me feel like a real grown up! All we had heard about Quantico was that the traffic really sucked. I’ll be honest, I heard people say that and blew it off like they were crazy. I mean we grew up in DFW and had suffered through the traffic on the 5 all up and down CA! But they were right. It was was an horrible as people say it is. I honestly don’t think people know what traffic is til they live in NOVA. I can not tell you how many times the simple 13 mile drive from Stafford to Fredericksburg – which should take 15 minutes – took an hour! You literally plan your life around traffic. You’re constantly having the internal battle of do I attempt to fight the traffic or not. It was insanity. That part about living in northern Virginia was pretty darn miserable. But other than that, the area really grew on me and I miss it more than I thought I would. It’s an absolutely beautiful area, with SO much history and lots of things to do and see. Another area with a beautiful fall, just enough snow that you don’t hate life and a base where you don’t have to worry about deployments which was a nice break. Brian stayed at Quantico for about 2 years and the last 6 months was moved up to the Pentagon which sounds cool (and I think it was lol!) but it made Brian’s commute to work extremely long. It was 35 miles away and easily an hour and half drive home. I should mention though, exactly 4 months after buying our house Brian got put on the HSST list and a couple months later received recruiting duty orders. Not what we were hoping for as he had just tried to be a DI before coming to Quantico and his MOS told him no, we need you! Apparently they didn’t need him that bad! But if you ever happen to be stationed in the area or live in NOVA, you will love it! So much history, historical places to see, battlefields, museums, beautiful parks, a couple national parks even nearby, not far from DC and all it has to offer – cherry blossom season is my favorite!, 4 different seasons, lots of local sports teams again and so much more.
Recruiting Station Dallas
And last – our current location, RS Dallas. Jan 15 – Jan 18. While I’ll be the first to attempt I was dreading coming on recruiting duty, our time on it has been a complete blessing. We ended up being stationed 20 minutes from family. 6 months into recruiting duty, Brian’s higher ups pulled him up to the RS headquarters to be the program specialist because they loved him so much. We went from horrible 12+ hour days 6 days a week, to pretty much a normal working day. We couldn’t have had a better experience! While Texas isn’t my favorite as far as places to live goes, there is some nostalgic about being back near our hometowns. And our kids getting to live so close to lots of their grandparents is pretty dang crazy for military brats!
I’d love to hear what your favorite duty station has been?! Or your favorite place you’ve ever lived?!